Among the many forces affecting the landscape of Israeli higher education today, the rise and future of interdisciplinary research has provoked many discussions. Interdisciplinary education requires a careful balance between the depth of knowledge needed to understand a problem from one discipline and the breadth of knowledge needed across several disciplines to understand that problem in all its complexity. The groundwork for this at the Technion, in the area of life sciences, has been laid at the Lorry I. Lokey Interdisciplinary Center for Life Sciences and Engineering. The aim is to achieve genuine interdisciplinary education, providing fertile ground for the launch of the new way of thinking that is needed. A strategic plan, based on excellence was released under the stewardship of then director and founder of the center, Nobel Laureate Prof. Aaron Ciechanover.
Our Center’s vision is to establish, foster, and enhance new interdisciplinary research activities with the goal of minimizing institutional barriers to collaborative activity of faculty across the campus. The scientific focus in our center is aimed at interdisciplinary research in the areas of :tissue regeneration and stem cells, network systems biology, biomedical optics and imaging, developmental gene networks,nano-technology, and bioinformatics. During the last year, we introduced new areas: metabolomics and microbial evolution.
This year we’ve continued to focus on the development of the infrastructure units at the Center that have been growing rapidly over the years and are one of the main triggers for the blossoming of life sciences at the Technion. At the Center, we’ve established a broad range of research support units whose missions include advancing the knowledge base of the different disciplines, and providing essential support services to researchers.
We understand the national and international need for engineers and technological advances. We pledge to provide our students with an exciting education that will prepare them for emerging technologies and for the adaptability and flexibility they will need in a rapidly changing world. Maintaining our current momentum requires embracing and addressing institutional challenges.
These challenges are magnified in times of resource constraints. Goals for upcoming years define the next stage of development for interdisciplinary studies at the Technion. Working alongside the Center Steering Committee I believe success in interdisciplinary studies requires collaboration across disciplines, faculties, and institutes; In the past, such collaborations have proven to give rise to innovative initiatives in faculty research and recruitment. I believe Technion’s reputation will be strongly enhanced by its accomplishments in interdisciplinary studies; the interdisciplinary character of our center is already attracting exceptional faculty and students, and aids Technion in its mission to provide knowledge in the service of humanity. As the new head of the Center, I look forward to the exciting future of the center. I am honored to serve the wide scientific community at Technion and elsewhere in being the messenger and enabler of interdisciplinary research in life sciences and engineering.